Guidance for commentators on presentations


  • Length of spoken peer review: plan on speaking five (5) minutes.
  • Format for spoken peer review: Briefly explain your understanding of the author’s thesis.  The reason to do this is because an early draft may lack clarity in its thesis.  It will therefore be helpful to the author for you to articulate her or his thesis back.  Briefly explain the good things about the paper.  Also be certain to raise points that can be improved, along with suggestions on how the author might improve his or her paper.  Examples of things to improve may include: organization, depth of research, unaddressed legal or factual issues, or unaddressed arguments or counter-arguments.  As with our Harkness method, please always be sure to maintain a respectful and helpful tone, especially when giving constructive criticism.
  • Written materials to provide author and me: At a minimum, please provide the author and me with a hard copy of your comments.  These are due at the time you give your peer review.  The comments need not be extensive, but should at a minimum provide suggestions (along the lines of the good things and constructive criticisms noted above).  Form follows function, so be sure to give comments that may be useful.  I envision comments as generally being between 1-2 pages single-spaced.  You may choose the form (again, form follows function), whether it is narrative, outline, or bullet points.  Additionally, if you choose, you may also provide written comments on the draft itself (but you still have to provide a page or two of written comments).
  • Deadlines:
    • Spoken peer review: On your assigned day, in class, five (5) minutes.
    • Written materials: On your assigned day, hard copies, in class.  Two copies: one for the author and one for me.